Experiences Part III: College Dropout

In the beginning of what would have been my junior year, I dropped out of college. Undiagnosed ADHD made learning in a school environment extremely challenging. Despite taking a year off, I gained valuable experiences. I worked as a hostess, tutor, and an IT Intern.

This post is part of a five part series.


Location: Alexander's in Faribault, MN
Dates: September 2014 to November 2014

After dropping out, I wanted to work as a server. With my customer service skills, I knew I could receive great tips. I was hired at a restaurant named Alexander's.

Being a hostess isn't very exciting. Standing and watching the door for hours is boring. Luckily, the restaurant was small and the kitchen had windows to see the door, so I was rarely at the hostess stand. I washed dishes, made salads, ran food, bused tables, and anything I saw that needed to be done. I loved it.

Though I loved what I did, the work environment wasn't the best. There were a lot of arguments in the kitchen between staff. I had another position as a tutor and realized that I missed being challenged so I decided to put in my two weeks.

What I loved:

  • Always something to do
  • Working with customers

Skills I Gained:

  • Customer Service: I loved welcoming customers into the restaurant
  • Taking Initiative: being a hostess doesn't mean you can't wash dishes
  • Improvising: finding ways to make customers happy even when things go wrong

Math and Physics Tutor

Location: Faribault, Minnesota
Dates: October 2014 to June 2014

Tutoring is so rewarding. I love seeing the student understand something they felt they could never learn. Being a tutor showed me how much I love learning and everything related to STEM. Had I not been a tutor, I may never have gone back to college.

What I loved:

  • Seeing student finally understand material
  • Explaining concepts in different ways
  • Finding everyday examples to explain physics
  • Seeing student progress and become more confident

Skills I Gained:

  • Leadership: teaching student how to understand and enjoy STEM
  • Time Management: setting priorities for each tutor session
  • Communication: learning how to understand student's question and answer clearly

IT Intern

Location: Wenger Corp. in Owatonna, MN
Dates: January 2015 to January 2016

This job was so much fun! Each day was a new challenge. Though I don't intend to work in IT operations, this gave me a new perspective. This job taught me to consider the end user's perspective when developing software.

What I loved:

  • Helping coworkers with technical challenges
  • Each day was different
  • Wide variety of projects and challenges
  • Finding ways to make things better

Skills I Gained:

  • Troubleshooting: using what I know to solve new challenges
  • Prioritizing: determining which tickets should be addressed first
  • Time Management: determining which tasks should be done and when
  • Customer Service: helping coworkers solve technical problems
  • Taking Initiative: finding ways to benefit the company, even if I wasn't assigned the task

GoKids Volunteer

Location: River Valley Church, Faribault, Minnesota
Dates: September 2014 to June 2015

I love kids and their infinite energy. When the main teacher was gone, I taught lessons.

As a child, I had a lot of energy. I was often yelled at for being disruptive, so I didn't assume energetic children were trying to be disruptive. I've found that kids want to do the right thing and telling them what you expect (instead of what they're doing wrong) redirects them in a positive way.

What I loved:

  • Working with kids
  • Teaching lessons
  • Encouraging children and helping them grow

Skills I Gained:

  • Leadership: teaching kids and setting expectations
  • Patience: it's not enough to act calm, you have to BE calm
  • Improvising: in a room of 20 kids, things never go as planned
  • Time Management: knowing when to move on to the next part of the lesson


I regret dropping out, but I learned a lot. Most dropouts don't end up as IT interns and tutors, so I'm especially grateful for those experiences.

I learned that I love positions where I can see my impact. I love seeing my work benefit others.

Read Part IV

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